Syria Launches Ground Assault to 'Clean' Baba Amr

Western journalists trapped inside city
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 29, 2012 9:48 AM CST

(Newser) – Syrian ground troops advanced on Homs today, indicating that the regime was about to launch a ground assault to take the restive city. One Syrian official told the AP that the rebel-held Baba Amr neighborhood would be "cleaned" in a matter of hours. Three western journalists are still trapped in Baba Amr, and one of them is wounded. Rebels managed to smuggle another wounded journalist to safety in Lebanon yesterday, in a rescue operation that left 13 Syrians dead.

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Regime forces also began shelling Rastan, a rebel-held town north of Homs, and launched a ground attack on Halfaya, a central town in Hama province that they've been shelling for five days. The UN High Commissioner on Human Rights yesterday concluded that the Syrian government had committed "crimes against humanity," though it noted that some opposition groups had also committed abuses. And China, which has staunchly opposed any military intervention in Syria, today urged world powers to send humanitarian aid there. (Read more Syria stories.)

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